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The Case for Not Having a Bridal Party

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We've already covered what to buy your bridesmaids for putting up with your crap months before the wedding, but what if you decide not to have them at all? Racked contributor Debbie Min makes the case to forgo a bridal party. Read her personal essay about her own wedding below.

If cutting your bridesmaid list gives you anxiety, consider not having any. That's what I did two summers ago when I got married at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in upstate New York. As a 30s bride, I had begun to abandon tradition and opted for a different wedding format that fit my needs—a small ceremony and dinner with a large party the following day. Despite our limited budget, the groom and I didn't want to compromise on the quality of our ceremony, so we made it a fifty person affair. Then created a second night to casually celebrate with an extended group of family and friends.

As Manhattan residents for the past decade or so, it made the most sense to have the ceremony in the city or nearby. Blue Hill at Stone Barns was the perfect choice because of its close proximity to the city (a 45 minute drive), its natural beauty, intimate dining room, delicious food, and farm-to-table concept.

We had a ceremony followed by a sit down five course meal in the private dining room without any dancing. The dancing came the next night at Friend House restaurant in Manhattan, where we hosted a party for ninety people with music, drinks, desserts, and a Korilla BBQ food truck parked outside.

I look back on my wedding weekend with fondness, because all of it was customized to what the groom and I cared about. We skipped a lot of traditions (cake and cake-cutting, bouquet toss, first dance, party favors, videos, a slideshow, and more), and only incorporated the ones that made sense and were meaningful to us.

One of the traditions we eliminated was not having groomsmen and bridesmaids. It was a great decision—let me tell you why:

It makes the wedding process a lot smoother
Without the added people, there is less to coordinate, less stress, and most importantly, less of a chance for things to go wrong. You will save yourself from deciding what the bridal party will wear the day of, where they will stand, in what order, and other ceremony logistics.

It saves costs for yourself and others
Do everyone's wallets a favor by letting close ones purchase and wear something that actually flatters them. Wouldn't it be nice if all of the wedding guests looked and felt their best? Depending on who pays for what, someone will be saving on the cost of buying the bridesmaid and groomsmen's uniforms, day of grooming (hair and makeup), bouquets, thank you gifts, bridal party activities (shower or bachelorette), and much more. These things don't necessarily make for a better wedding—just possibly a fancier one.

It relieves the responsibilities (and burdens) of the bridesmaid role
Eliminate the title and duties involved so that those helping you will do it out of desire, not obligation. The recent spate of over-the-top weddings and bridal activities has created a lot of pressure for today's bridesmaid to live up to—they're expected to plan and host the ultimate fancy and fun bachelorette party and a classy and thoughtful bridal shower. And with DIY all the rage, bridesmaids are enlisted to wrap, stamp, fold or whatever other method it takes to create a special piece that took hours of blood, sweat, and tears, only to be appreciated for five seconds by guests.

Want the bachelorette party of your dreams? Plan it yourself and allow those who want to help volunteer on certain tasks. Wouldn't you rather your wedding create joy and excitement, instead of resentment, deep sighs, and eye-rolls?

It takes attention away from the bride and groom
Large bridal parties that stand at the front of the ceremony distract and take the focus away from the couple. The beauty of a couple standing together, declaring their commitment to each other, can be watered down by people standing behind them wearing taffeta or whatever other uncomfortable material that makes them fidget uncontrollably. Let your friends and family sit down with the rest of the guests and be a witness to your ceremony in comfort.

It spares people's feelings
The reality is that not every friendship is perfectly two-sided. Inevitably someone will be hurt or offended that they are not included in the bridal party or asked to participate in the ceremony or reception. And wouldn't it be nice if your wedding created an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion?
· All Weddings Week 2013 Posts [Racked NY]

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

630 Bedford Rd Pocantico Hills, NY